I am a kidney transplant recipient and a diabetic of 20+ years. I live well by managing my foods and keeping up with the technology.
Every Cup of Coffee needs a sweetener
I poured my first cup of Coffee this morning, and automatically reached for my Splenda to sweeten the brew.
As I grabbed it, I noticed that it was another brand and not actually Splenda itself but another more unknown brand. So, I stopped and read the label.
It stated that it was a substitute for Splenda, with the same ingredients and all, and I asked my wife about it, and she reminded me that we had picked this brand a week before because it was the same and it had a much lower price.
I remembered the whole thing then (I don't function well until after my coffee you see) and sat down with thoughts about artificial sweeteners swimming around in my awakening head.
Thinking back on this specialized part of our food world, I decided to jump into Google and update my knowledge about the sugar substitutes that are so much a part of my life. After about an hour of hopping around the web, I felt up to date and decided to share my new-found knowledge with you the reader.
Now, the information below is just a summary of high points that were interesting to me. There is a lot more out there, and if you need to go deeper, I saw that it is there and waiting for you if you wish to dig deeper.My goal was to see where the market for these products was, as far as popularity is concerned, as well as basic information on using them when cooking.
So, as you probably already know, Artificial Sweeteners are broadly popular in the US and other countries. They are used in baked goods, desserts, and sodas, among other foods. Some have been around for decades and most have one drawback or another.
In fact, if you start reading the label of the foods that you purchase you will most likely find the chemical names for one or the other of these products listed there; probably more often that you might be comfortable with.
Saccharin - the first popular Artificial Sweetener
So, here is a little basic data on these, the most popular brands of artificial sweeteners, to help the reader understand some of the differences.
Saccharin is one of the oldest artificial sweeteners on the market today and is popularly known as Sweet and Low, and it comes in PINK packaging.
In the 1970’s it was tied to increased instances of cancer in rats by the FDA, and although it was banned in Canada and some other countries, only warning labels were instituted in the US.
It can be used in baking but it does have a bitter-sweet aftertaste.
Note that if you use Saccharin in cooking you should use only about half as much as a recipe that calls for sugar would use.
Aspertame - The more popular variety of Artificial Sweetener
Aspertame, is also one of the more popularly used artificial sweeteners used in the US.
It is usually packaged in BLUE and is around 180 times as sweet as real sugar in its raw form by volume.
The most popular brand names are Equal, NutraSweet, Tropicana Slim and Canderel.
Aspertame brands of Artificial Sweeteners should not be used in baking because it will break down under heat and not be as sweet as when used in cold dishes.
Sucralose is the new and safer Artificial Sweetener
Sucralose is the most popular artificial sweetener today and has been around since the 1970’s.
It is popularly known by the brand name of Splenda and is usually packaged in YELLOW.
It is around 600 times as sweet as real sugar and its flavor is the closest to actual suga.
Sucralose is available in brown sugar and regular sugar forms for use in cooking.
As it is considered the safest of artificial sweeteners, and each packet contains only around 3.3 calories, it is favored by dieters, people with diabetes and other health conscious people.
Stevia - the Natural Sweetener
Then there is the Natural sweetener called Stevia, which is made from the plant calledSweetleaf.
This artificial sweetener is around 250 times as sweet as natural sugar.
It is more popular in some countries around the world (particularly Japan), than others, but it has not been around for long and is presently only approved in the US as a supplement.
Many people do not realize that the artificial sweetener called Truvis is just a different brand that was originally developed by the companies Coca-Cola and Cargill.
Essentially, it is made of a combination of stevia leaf extract, Natural flavors and erythritol
Erythritol is as sweet mixture of certain substances that only has about 6% of the calories found in actual sugar.
Other Artificial Sweeteners
There are other artificial sweeteners on the market in the US, but these are the top three.
Some of the others are; Acesulfame K (or Ace K) and Neotame.
Each of these artificial sweeteners has their own unique potential problems for the health of some users, so if you want to use artificial sweeteners, you should do a little research on the web on your own to make your own intelligent choices.
Using Artificial Sweeteners on Healthbeat
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Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on October 16, 2014:
notsuperstitious1- I am a Stevia/Truvia person myself, and, being a diabetic, if yet another even more natural and safer artificial sweetener is found, I will go to it.
Thanks for the read,
Edith Rose from Canada on October 16, 2014:
I use stevia which I purchase from a health food store. Good topic choice for a hub.
Jaye Denman from Deep South, USA on September 18, 2013:
Don - If you must use artificial sweetners, the only truly safe one is PURE organic stevia, and I don't mean Truvia, Stevia in the Raw and other "blended" stevia processed varieties that contain unhealthy additives and some ingredients that aren't good for diabetics. Leave it to the Coca-Cola Company to try and poison us (as they have with Aspartame for years) and for the corrupt FDA to help them!
I purchase organic SweetLeaf stevia, both powder in boxes of individual packets--great for hot coffee--and drops (better for cold beverages such as the iced tea we southerners drink year-round). They are least expensive bought through Amazon's Subscribe & Save program.
You can find recipes on SweetLeaf's website, and there are other sites, including food blogs, where you can find additional recipes and also equivalency charts for stevia's use. It takes a short while to become accustomed to using it, as with many dietary changes. I've never been a cake baker or other desserts cook because I lost my taste for sweets decades ago. However, I've seen recipes for desserts on the afore-mentioned websites. I'd assume a cook would need to follow measurements for these exactly to get the desired results.
Over the years I used the other sweetners before I knew they weren't healthy, but after doing a great deal of research chose pure organic stevia. It's been in use with no side effects in other countries for years. The only reason it's not listed as a food product here is because the FDA is in bed with Big Business.
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on July 31, 2011:
Thanks Fashion. If Ya Gotta Look it up, Ya Ought to share it.
fashion on July 31, 2011:
Very informative and interesting hub.Thanks for this useful article.
preacherdon from Arkansas on July 29, 2011:
I used to use Sweet & Low but that was because that was all there was. I then defected to Equal. That became my new best friend but wasn't available in most restaurants. I'm sort of now split between Equal and Splenda. I like them both. Sometimes, I think Splenda is better. Fortunately now all the above are available in most restaurants. Of course, the only reason I use them is to sweeten cold tea so it take soooo long for sugar to dissolve. Voted up, useful, and interesting. Thanks, Don...Preacherdon
Don Bobbitt (author) from Ruskin Florida on July 29, 2011:
Thanks Phil, Yeah, I understand your position on these sweeteners, but, I turned Diabetic a year ago, as a secondary affect of my anti-rejection drugs for my transplant. So... What the Hell! You just keep on with what you do, and your future will in all probability be longer, if nothing else. BTW, You better check those labels on packaged and canned goods. These chemicals are often stuck into many processed foods that you wouldn't suspect of being "doped" so to speak. Thanks for the vote and response.
Phil Plasma from Montreal, Quebec on July 29, 2011:
I do not consume artificial sweeteners. Aspartame in particular I avoid at all costs. I am fortunate in that I do not have a weight, heart or other problem that requires me to watch out about sugar intake, but also, I generally eat a very balanced diet and so what I do eat is not usually in excess.
Informative hub earning you a vote up and interesting.